Placing Claims to Land: The Grounds of Religious and Ethnic Conflict at Lake Lindu, Central Sulawesi

Among the first of the governmental reforms that have been initiated in the period since the downfall of former President Suharto's New Order, an era identified by the very term Reformasi[1] (literally, Reformation), has been the legislation concerning regional autonomy (UU No. 22 Tahun 1999 tentang Pemerintahan Daerah, UU No. 25 Tahun 1999 tentang Perimbangan Keuangan Antara Pemerintah Pusat dan Daerah [GOI 1999]). Responding to the demands of various provinces for greater control of their revenues, most importantly a greater proportion of the profit from the exploitation of local resources (e.g. natural gas in Aceh, oil in Riau, gold and diamonds in South Kalimantan, copra cloves, and chocolate in North Sulawesi, gold and copper in Papua [formerly Irian Jaya]), this legislation, according to the introduction to the published edition, seeks to meet the `challenge of global competition' (`tantangan persaingan global') and to `emphasise democratic principles, the role of society, equality and justice, as well as improving the potential and variety of the regions' (`menekankan pada prinsip-prinsip demokratis, peranserta masyarakat, permerataan dan keadilian serta memperbaiki potensi dan keanekaragaman daerah' [GOI 1999: V]). Although most of the elements enumerated in the legislation are to be enacted at the level of the province (propinsi) and regency (kabupaten), one chapter of the legislation is also oriented to the granting of reform at the administrative village (desa) level. In fact, in many ways the village level is seen to be that which most corresponds to the official definition of an autonomous region, as a comparison of the wording of definitions for `autonomous region' (daerah otonom) (chapter 1, paragraph 1, sentence i) and administrative village (desa) (chapter 1, paragraph 1, sentences o & p) reveals:


[1] All italicised foreign terms are in Bahasa Indonesia, unless otherwise noted in following square brackets (e.g. [D] stands for Dutch, [T] for Tado, the language of the `indigenous' Lindu people.
 

 


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